There are no easy decisions for venues, vendors or those planning an event, but with some calm thinking and open communication, the right decisions can be made. To help you manage your event or wedding, we’ve collated some guidance on what questions to ask yourself, how to communicate with the people involved and what your options are if you aren’t able to go through with your planned wedding or event.
Step One: Consider The Likelihood Of Cancellation
Events In 2020 Will Be Impacted By Coronavirus
Most events scheduled for 2020 will be impacted by COVID-19. The likelihood of you needing to cancel your event will vary based on how imminent it is:
- Event is very soon – If your event is planned for April 2020, then you can safely assume it will be cancelled, either by you due to the inability for guests to attend or by the venue, which may be closed.
- Event is soon – If you have an event planned for between May and August 2020, there is a high chance of it needing to be cancelled due to coronavirus, though at this stage it’s not certain. UK and European governments are assessing lockdowns and which businesses can stay open every few weeks so it’s not a certainty yet that you’ll have to cancel.
- Event is coming up – We’re talking here about events in the later part of 2020, from August to December. It is hoped lockdowns will be lifted and venues re-opened by then but since the spread of COVID-19 is still developing this is still unknown. Events later in 2020 don’t need to be cancelled yet but you should keep up to date with the latest guidance.
- Events next year – There isn’t a need to cancel events in 2021 yet, though you may still want to look at the guidance below to ensure you are prepared to make a decision should coronavirus continue to be an issue throughout 2020.
Events In Europe Are More Likely To Be Cancelled Than In The UK
The UK is currently in lockdown, along with many European countries, including those hit hardest by COVID-19 like Spain and Italy. Borders closing creates an additional barrier for events taking place in Europe, along with concerns from guests in the wake of coronavirus – even once it has been stalled.
Step Two: Check Your Insurance & Cancellation Policies
Once you’ve considered whether or not your event is going to be cancelled, and when you might need to think about making that decision, you should review any insurance you have in place and the cancellation policies of your vendors.
Even if you don’t need to cancel your event straight away, now is the time to refamiliarise yourself with what your insurance policy will and won’t cover.
Check Your Insurance For Infectious Diseases & Government Intervention Coverage
Not all cancellation and insurance policies are one and the same. There will be specific legal stipulations in each which make different sides liable for costs. If you have to cancel your event due to COVID-19, or think you might have to, you need to look for specific sections that mention your coverage due to infectious diseases/pandemics and government intervention/lockdowns.
If the wording is unclear or you aren’t sure if a section includes coverage for the impact of coronavirus, contact your insurance provider to gain clarification. Aim to get any clarification in writing so you have it as a reference if you need to cancel later on. With cancellation policies, you may need to contact individual providers to get clarification.
Step Three: Communicate With Your Vendors
Giving some thought as to whether you need to cancel your event, and when and what your options are, is advisable before you approach your vendors.
We’re all facing a difficult time and open lines of communication will help everyone stay calm and feel supported. Please remember that your vendors, be they venues, officiants, caterers or florists, will be in a similarly difficult position to you and there will be things beyond their control.
Contact your vendors as soon as you can, especially if you are thinking about cancelling, and be as up front as possible. Being on the same page will ensure everyone is clear and can come to the best resolution – which could be cancelling your event, waiting and seeing, or moving to a new date in the future.
If You Know You Have To Cancel, Let Vendors Know ASAP
If you have decided that you need to cancel your event or wedding, then let your vendors know as soon as possible. Letting your guests know is important, but vendors rely on the business of your event so it will more immediately impact them.
Even if you think you might have to cancel your event, but won’t know until a bit later down the line, tell your vendors. They will likely be reaching out to you, among many others, and will welcome the update from your end.
Step Four: Consider a Plan B
Consider Switching To An Online Event
It may be possible to move some events online. Many businesses are using video conferencing, from fitness instructors to schools and government departments. Online might not have the same feel as in person but, for some events, it can serve as a workable replacement.
Consider Getting Married Online
Your dream wedding may be off the table due to COVID-19 but that doesn’t mean you have to stall getting hitched. You could consider a smaller ceremony – safety restrictions allowing, or getting registered and then having a ceremony later on once venues have reopened.
Currently, some UK courts, like The Family Court and High Court, are moving to online hearings. Though the marriage, birth and death departments have not yet moved online, they may make it available soon so check government websites for developments. This may allow you to get married on your date of choice, even if you have to postpone your wedding ceremony.
Stay Safe & Plan Carefully
Hopefully, this has given you some guidance on how to proceed with your event and offered some peace of mind by giving you a few steps to work through should you be considering cancelling an event or wedding in 2020.